Music News & Reviews

Looking to celebrate Woodstock at 50? Here’s your local jam session

Mark Jones, left, and Lee Carroll will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Woodstock along with a cast of musicians playing songs from the setlists of those who performed at the original 1969 event.
Mark Jones, left, and Lee Carroll will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Woodstock along with a cast of musicians playing songs from the setlists of those who performed at the original 1969 event.

Woodstock: 50 Years Later

7 p.m. Aug. 16 at the Pam Miller Downtown Arts Center, 141 E. Main. $25.

During the spring of 2017, Lee Carroll was at the forefront of a concert dedicated to the groundbreaking contemporary music of 1971. The keyboardist, who gigs regularly in Lexington with the Ethos Jazz Quartet and C the Beat but has a dossier than extends back through tenures with area favorites like Tin Can Buddha and Coralee and the Townies as well as a ‘90s stay with Exile, utilized a crew of Lexington musicians as well as friends and players from Nashville for the event.

The show, staged at the then-named Downtown Arts Center, was a sellout. That set Carroll thinking about another program devoted to the rock ‘n’ roll era he grew up with. Enter the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, the vanguard music festival that has triggered numerous tribute performances this summer even though the officially sanctioned Woodstock 50, slated for this weekend in Maryland, was canceled in late July due to production and logistics problems.

With the idea of a Lexington Woodstock celebration in mind, Carroll called on a longtime friend and one-time Exile bandmate Mark Jones, went back to the balance of Lexington and Nashville players and came up with “Woodstock: 50 Years Later,” a concert that will feature songs immortalized by the marquee artists from the original 1969 Woodstock – namely, Santana, Janis Joplin, Sly and the Family Stone, The Who, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jimi Hendrix and more. The show plays the re-named Pam Miller Downtown Arts Center on Aug. 16.

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“That music was incredible,” Carroll said. “We were so lucky to have grown up in the that era. It was a renaissance for popular music with FM and college radio playing stuff you couldn’t hear on pop or Top 40 stations. The harder edged stuff was all being played on college radio. The range of music you heard was just mind boggling.

Even though the music of the Woodstock era underscored a massive break between generations, Carroll finds its effect and appeal in 2019 to be very unifying.

“There’s a weird thing that happened when we were growing up. There was a divide between our culture and our parents’ culture. They had Perry Como and we had our own music that wasn’t derived from what our parents listened to. The funny thing is my son, who is 27, and kids who are younger are all familiar with this music from Woodstock, the music we grew up with. So now our children and us are on the same side of that divide.”

Soul Asylum

7 p.m. Aug. 16 at Manchester Music Hall, 899 Manchester St. $20-$40. 859-537-7321.

Ace Frehley

7 p.m. Aug. 18 at Manchester Music Hall, 899 Manchester St. $33. 859-537-7321.

Manchester Music Hall is also doing some time tripping this weekend, but it won’t be going as far back as Woodstock.

On Friday, the club will host Soul Asylum, which burst out of Minneapolis’ indie-rock ranks during the ‘80s to become a Grammy-winning hit team in the ‘90s. Then on Sunday, guitarist Ace Frehley, co-founding member of Kiss and the guitarist on the band’s seminal ‘70s albums, performs.

Only guitarist, vocalist and frontman Dave Pirner remains from the original Soul Asylum lineup. Co-founding guitarist Dan Murphy retired in 2012 while the band’s original bassist, Karl Mueller, died from cancer in 2015. Soul Asylum still records new music. Its most recent album, “Change of Fortune,” was released in 2016. Still expect, though, its Lexington show to go heavy on music from the platinum-selling ‘90s albums “Grave Dancers Union” and “Let Your Dim Light Shine.”

Frehley is a Bronx-born metal guitarist with a solo career that reaches back to when his Frehley’s Comet band began touring heavily in the mid ‘80s. His newest album, slated for release in October, is “Origins, Vol. 2,” a collection of ‘60s and ‘70s era songs originated by Led Zeppelin, Humble Pie and the Rolling Stones. Of course, his career was built on the mammoth commercial success of Kiss. Frehley was a member from the group’s formation in 1973 to 1982 and again from 1996 until 2002.

Kentucky State Fair

Aug. 15-25 at Kentucky Expo Center. 937 Phillip Lane in Louisville. $10 admission, $10 parking.

It’s Kentucky State Fair time again. That means corn dogs, rooster crowing contests and an extensive roster of performances billed as The Texas Roadhouse Concert Series that are free with State Fair admission.

This weekend, the lineup boasts celebrated funk/soul percussionist and vocalist Sheila E (Aug. 16), Metcalfe County metal-and-more rockers Black Stone Cherry (Aug. 17) and State Fair perennials The Oak Ridge Boys (Aug. 18). Showtime for each performance is is 8 p.m.

The concerts will take place on a stage area located in Parking Lot L of the Kentucky Expo Center.